Tax breaks for amateur sports - A red-card idea

IT is not so long ago that the idea that returning emigrants be given a short-term tax break to help them re-establish themselves in the country was guffawed out of court.

Brendan Griffin

The idea was progressive, generous, and no more skewed than myriad well-established tax concessions. 

It combined good social policy with a spirit of generosity not always evident to those who need a brief respite from the rigours of our tax system. 

That such arrangements are offered to executives working with foreign companies in Ireland — or to some civil servants working abroad — did not influence the debate.

If equity is the over-riding criteria, then proposals from Tourism and Sports Minister Brendan Griffin, that tax breaks might be extended to amateur sports people competing at a certain level, hardly seem plausible. 

Why should a hurler get a tax advantage over a colleague who, say, dedicates their free to time to rescuing abandoned cats?

The proposal should be filed under bread-and-circus lunacies before any real time is wasted considering it — even if it would be great to be paid for indulging in our hobbies.

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